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Kensuke Tanabe

Nintendo’s Kensuke Tanabe has long been associated with Retro Studios. While working with the company, Tanabe acted as producer (or co-producer) on all of its games – the Metroid Prime and Donkey Kong Country titles. Now, however, the two sides “are allegedly no longer on good terms,” according to a report from Liam Robertson.

Here’s one excerpt from Robertson’s report:

“Last year, I was investigating Tanabe with regards to this. This involved speaking to a number of developers who had worked alongside him. The way in which they all described Tanabe’s directorial style was fascinating. Their words built up a portrait in my mind of a Gordon Ramsey esque figure who strived for perfection and berated anything short of it. It’s difficult for me to fully convey my impressions of him without explicitly detailing the anecdotes shared with me in confidence, which could compromise those involved; but I will try my best to elaborate.

Gamasutra has several quotes up from producer Risa Tabata and Kensuke Tanabe, who work with external teams at Nintendo. Tabata has been involved with games such as Metroid Prime while Tanabe has been with the company for nearly three decades.

While speaking with Tabata and Tanabe, Gamasutra asked about how Nintendo tends to make its games, working with external developers, and even amiibo. Continue on below for their thoughts.

Nintendo has tried a few different concepts with Chibi-Robo over the years. We know that it started out as an adventure game of sorts, but the series has since dabbled with photographs and now platforming. This is all intentional, as Nintendo seems to have struggled making the character a mainstream success.

Kensuke Tanabe, a producer from the company, recently spoke with The Verge about how it hasn’t been easy making Chibi-Robo resonate with all players. He also suggested that Zip Lash could be the last entry in the franchise if it doesn’t perform well.

“To be honest, this might be the last chance for us.”

“I’ve continually thought about ways to build this into a mainstream success. We’ve challenged ourselves in assorted ways along those lines, but I can’t say that we’ve found the answer yet.”

Tanabe went on to discuss Zip Lash’s origins:

“The first thing we decided upon was that we’d make an action game that took advantage of his plug and cord. We then placed the core of the gameplay on using it like a grappling hook, throwing it into a faraway edge and using that to traverse gaps and so on. As we kept thinking about ideas, we naturally settled on the 2D side-scrolling format. If the character can gain more recognition, I believe we’ll have a chance to produce another adventure-style game for a large number of people. I’m hoping that we made the right choice for this game’s play style.”

“Instead of trying to come up with a character we thought would be a commercial success, it was more like we first had the Chibi-Robo character, and then we thought about what kind of game we could make that’d portray this character in as attractive a way as possible. It’s kind of fun along those lines, like taking an artist I’ve found and trying to mold him into a famous creator. That, of course, also creates its own unique challenges.”

If Chibi-Robo does manage to capture success, it’s possible that he’ll appear in other places… liker Smash Bros. perhaps? Tanabe said: “If we receive an offer, we’ll think about it.”


Believe it or not, interviews with Metroid Prime: Federation Force producer Kensuke Tanabe are still popping up. USgamer published its piece today. In this interview, Tanabe addressed topics pertaining to amiibo, the initial backlash, timeline, story, and even Retro Studios.

We’ve rounded up a number of excerpts below. For the full interview, head on over here.

Siliconera has posted its full interview with Chibi-Robo!: Zip Lash assistant director Risa Tabata and series producer Kensuke Tanabe. The two teased more vehicle stages for the game, talked about the related amiibo, spoke about how the series would be “shiny” on Wii U, and left a message for fans.

You can find excerpts about these topics below. The entire interview is located on Siliconera.

With Metroid Prime: Federation Force, Nintendo wants “to expand the Metroid universe.” That’s according to producer Kensuke Tanabe, who also explained to Eurogamer that his desire to create a co-operative experience meant that Samus needed to take a back seat. This is because having players control different versions of the character wouldn’t make sense.

Tanabe also commented on how load-outs work on Federation Force and again talked about Federation Force’s plot.

Here’s a roundup of some of what was shared by Tanabe:

“[Metroid Prime: Federation Force] is an attempt to expand the Metroid universe. As you can play with up to four players it wouldn’t make sense to play as four Samus characters! The game will be focused on co-op, working together as a team with up to four players. And obviously it is available as a single-player experience as well.”

“You have the option to choose load-outs for you to bring to the battle. However, you have to consider that there will be limitation for how much can carry as a character. If you carry the Super Missile then you’re classed as a Warrior type. If you have lots of Repair Capsules you could focus on being a Healer type.”

“I’ve always been thinking about having a battle between the Galactic Federation and Space Pirates. The Metroid Prime series fits between Metroid 2 and Super Metroid, as you may be aware. So it falls under that same timeline, but looking at it from a different perspective.”

“It’s set on a planet which the Galactic Federation used, way back when. The plot involves a struggle to retake that planet. You find out that Space Pirates now reside there and are building a weapon to use against the Federation. Players will fight the Space Pirates to stop them.”


Wired is the latest outlet to have published an article with commentary from Nintendo producer Kensuke Tanabe. Tanabe discussed Metroid Prime: Federation Force in-depth, including how it’s more than just a shooter, bits about the story (and how it’s important to Prime’s overall plot), how it’s players’ “first chance to actually see Samus in-game”, and more. He also again touched on wanting to continue the Prime series after the ending of the third game.

Read on below to read up on what Tanabe said. You can also find Wired’s full article here.

Nintendo World Report put up its full interview with the Chibi-Robo!: Zip Lash developers today. The outlet spoke with producers Risa Tabata and Kensuke Tanabe. Tabata and Tanabe shared some interesting comments about the early days of Chibi-Robo and how Bandai was involved with the character’s design, the series’ timeline, and taking inspiration from other Nintendo games with Zip Lash.

Those who are interested in Chibi-Robo can head past the break to read up on Tabata and Tanabe’s words. You can find the full interview here.

Paper Mario: Sticker Star was primarily an Intelligent Systems product, but Vanpool worked on the game as well. Nintendo’s Kensuke Tanabe recently said that Vanpool ended up on Sticker Star since help was needed to make its 2012 launch.

Vanpool is now contributing to Chibi-Robo!: Zip-Lash alongside Skip. Taro Kudo, a director at the company, previously worked at Square and Love-de-Lic with Skip’s founders.


In Chibi-Robo!: Zip Lash, the game is packed with plenty of snacks like pocky and Utz potato chips. Nintendo producer Risa Tabata explained during E3 2015 last week that this came about so that players would be able to truly understand Chibi-Robo’s size, and so that he’d have more items to collect that felt more substantial.

Tabata told Nintendo World Report:

“We were trying to think of ways to express [how tiny Chibi-Robo is] to give you a point of reference to show you how small he is in real life. Since this time, there are no people around, [the snacks] something we can give you to compare.”

“Because the game itself takes place around the world in various places, we thought coming up with different monuments that you see around the world, such as the Statue of Liberty or the Pyramids, but that would be way too big to use as a reference for a tiny little robot. And that’s when I thought ‘What’s something that’s around us all the time, and makes people happy to see or to find in game?’ I personally also love snacks too, so I thought this is a great idea to implement in the game.”

In order for snacks to be included in Chibi-Robo!: Zip Lash, Nintendo branches in North America and Europe needed to reach out to different companies. Tabata also visited 30 different snack food companies for the Japanese version.

Nintendo producer Kensuke Tanabe said:

“Around this time in Japan, it is super hot and humid. So she was wearing her business attire, walking around the whole country, travelling to present this idea to all these people. I myself was sitting in the office, just chilling, thinking ‘She’s going through such a hard labor.’ *laughs*”